Thursday, December 13, 2007

Swedes Should Probably Stop Singing “Take a Chance on Me”

(Pictured: a charming and welcoming German street scene, left in place for years because it's concidered "art") Immigrants vote with their feet.

toward the end of last year – following the riots in France's immigrant-populated suburbs - something happened: discussions about Europe's "social model" grew quiet, very quiet.

Just a few months earlier, when Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans, European media and politicians were wallowing in schadenfreude (taking pleasure in the misfortune of others). The U.S. was called a "developing country," unable to protect its own citizens, and thus a world away from a Europe of solidarity and compassion.

But then the fires began in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. And an embarrassed silence settled in.

The American societal model, with its wide disparities and gaping safety net, is something that few in Europe wish to emulate. There is, however, quite a bit to learn from it. One example is the assimilation of immigrants into the labor market.
The case in point? Comparing the success and level of happiness of Somalis who immigrated abroad after that nation’s descent into lawlessness and civil war.

Compared to the odds of things working out for an immigrant in the US, Europe stinks.
When Somalia collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled the country. Those who reached Sweden had almost no chance of finding work: In 1997 only 10 percent were employed. Currently, the number has risen to some 30 percent, which is long way off the national level of 77 percent.
This isn’t a matter of pulling out the Euro-pavlovian rationalization-response number 1,547 about the better disposed and more ambitious immigrants bypassing Europe in favor of the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and so forth. The study compared apples to apples, and demonstrates something that anyone familiar with immigrant communities on both sides of the pond can readily see – the socialist-cum-dogooder rhetoric found in Europe is most frequently a failure, and at times an outright lie aimed at using social self-flattery to compensate for a failed social model.

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